Written by: Carroll Jenkins on October 19th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1963
Director: Russ Meyer
Writer: Russ Meyer
Cast: Denise Du Vall, Heide Richter, Yvette Le Grand, Greta Thorwald, Abundavita, Gigi La Touche, Veronique Gabriel, Fred Owens, Lynn Held, Vic Perrin, Franklin L. Thistle, Mike Michelson
DVD released: October 31st, 2011
Approximate running time: 66 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Arrow Films
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL
Retail Price: £39.99 (Available as part of Arrow Films Russ Meyer Collection)
This movie is a sheep in wolf’s clothing – a travelogue disguised as a sex expose. The bulk of the film consists of pictures of traffic signs, statues, neon signs, sculpture, and buildings. We get to experience the manic automobile drivers in the streets of Paris and the bountiful and putrid heaps of garbage floating in the canals of Venice. All the while the narrative drones on and on and …
Sounds underwhelming, eh? Well, most followers assume Meyer’s most obscure feature is deservedly so, but the primary reason is that the cabaret stripper acts were later recycled in Mondo Topless. Whatever it’s other merits (or lack thereof) the latter presentation does include exclusive footage of Candy Morrison aka Darlene Grey, so why double dip?
Europe In The Raw is most likely a foreign made travelogue that was purchased outright and used as a carrier vehicle for the [very few] hidden camera segments and the aforementioned stripper segments. Most interesting are the randomly placed snippets of vivid color footage featuring models Cara Peters/Cara Loren (Good Morning and Goodbye) and Shawn Deveraux (The Seven Minutes). Legend has it that significant footage of Cherry, Harry, and Raquel was destroyed by the film lab resulting in the distinctive voice over and inserted vignettes of famous men’s magazine model Uschi Digard. These stylistic flourishes are already on display in this early feature, though it seems highly unlikely this brief footage was authentic to the original release.
Note: This review is based on a test disc and may not be representative of the final product.
Europe In The Raw in OAR fullframe ration. It is very colorful and sharp, though there is some odd jumping during pans. This appears to be restricted to the travelogue and secret camera segments.
There is no dialogue, only the narration which is very clear, as is the hot jazz that accompanies the ‘cabaret’ scenes. It is effective though obviously not the same music the performers were dancing to.
Europe In The Raw is not a memorable (much less credible) mondo, but it’s also not completely without merit. The recycled footage works better here as a highlight than as filler in Mondo Topless.